Top tips for managers
Resourcing your team
Tools are important to enable good remote working - make sure your team have access to all the remote working tools they need, for example email, file share capacity with SharePoint sites and skype for business.
Also, clarify access to an internet connection and phone line.
If staff require special arrangements for equipment i.e. a specific desk mouse this should where possible also be facilitated in the home setting.
Existing adjustments should be accommodated as possible i.e. special equipment loaned for home use.
Great communication is key when you have a completely remote workforce.
Line Managers will need to get really good at deliberate, structured communication, making sure the team is checking in daily.
Set aside time for your one on ones with your remote employees.
Also, encouraging team members to keep in touch with each other can be invaluable for additional points of communication.
Effective communication will help you build a team that is innovative and happy.
Pastoral Care and Connection
Be intentional about creating a remote workforce atmosphere of engagement and genuine connection.
Identify time to simply connect as people in a virtual space like skype or phone when the focus is not to solely discuss work but to simply chat as people. Actively encourage remote workers to connect informally with each other - have the time to bond casually as we would in a physical office environment.
Building Trust & Flexibility
Successful home working requires a healthy relationship of trust and confidence. Working from home may not be an approach used significantly in the past in some areas of the University and potentially may present challenges for some managers who prefer to supervise face-to-face.
Uncertainty around the virus and what this will mean for individuals both personally and professionally will be important to consider.
Trust your team and give them the freedom and flexibility to get work done on the schedule that helps them be the most productive and meets the needs of their line managers.
Managers should spend time with their team, as soon as is practically possible, discussing individual and team workload and how this is going to be managed remotely.
Manage expectations and Outcomes
Staff who work from home need to be clear on how they will be managed / supervised.
This may vary from team to team but the manager should be confident in supervising from a distance. It can be helpful for staff working from home to establish a system where colleagues are aware of their day-to-day availability.
Set you and your team up for success, clearly define scope, deadlines and deliverables for each task.
It's not possible to manage every aspect of the work in a remote team instead focus on the outcomes and measure your team accordingly.
As Line Managers it will be critical to empathise and accommodate their personal circumstances.